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Synthetic Narcotics

  • By: Victor B. Stolberg
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Narcotics were among the earliest drugs used. Opium, a narcotic, was one of the most potent drugs of our ancient pharmacopeia, with a very long history of abuse. Narcotics, whether natural or synthetic, pharmacologically impact us by binding to specific narcotic receptor sites located in the central nervous system and in other tissues. There are several different classes of these receptors, such as the delta, kappa, and mu receptors. Further, there are respective subtypes to the various classes of receptors, each of which have a specific neurological response. Accordingly, as different natural or synthetic narcotics bind to different receptors they produce varying pharmacodynamic responses. One of the most profound pharmacological effects of most narcotics, both natural and synthetic, is analgesia; antidiarrheal and cough suppressant ...

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